From the safety of the NYT subscriber firewall where few will see him, Nicholas Kristof argues that atheists should stop being so mean to Christians. Especially now:
Now that the Christian Right has largely retreated from the culture wars, let’s hope that the Atheist Left doesn’t revive them. We’ve suffered enough from religious intolerance that the last thing the world needs is irreligious intolerance.
Kristof is right, though, when he says that the Richard Dawkins school of in-your-face atheism, which basically calls religious people idiots, lowers the discourse; then again, there’s plenty of that from all quarters. As a general rule, though, argument is more persuasive than insult. That’s especially true if the arguer is in a distinct minority in the society and the insultees are the vast majority. Of course, if one’s aim is publicity and book sales rather than persuasion, bombast the way to go.